cooking, Just bitchin'

The Lesson Learned


Every once in a while it’s a good idea to try something new. Kick your brain out of the lumpy, rutted, familiar ground it navigates without really taking notice.

It’s good to take a break from the keyboard. And the plot line. And the characters.

I’m not much of a cook. Okay…fine…I’m NO kind of a cook. Dinner is usually microwave popcorn and, if budget and circumstances allow, a glass of wine.

So, yesterday I decided to see if I could blaze a new trail through my limited nutritional repertoire, and maybe…I dunno…BAKE something. I’d been cleaning out kitchen drawers and cupboards (a foray into Creative Distraction…see previous post…while waiting for a kink to work itself out of a story I’d been laboring over).

I found muffin tins. I discovered various containers of spices that hadn’t yet caked in the moisture-laden air of the Northwest. I unearthed an old stack of recipe cards from someone who once thought I should be the owner of an old stack of recipe cards.

I plunged into my new adventure, trusting it would, if not open new vistas of  culinary aptitude, at least give that story-kink time to unknot as it lay in its own creative juices.

Here’s what I learned:

1. When the labels fall off of spice containers and you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, curry powder looks a lot like cinnamon.

2. If you’re going to make muffins, non-stick spray or those little, paper cup-thingies are kind of necessary. Unless you don’t mind digging them out with your fingers like a savage, eating them straight from the pan, leaning over the sink for crumb-control.

Side note: A male friend who should know saw me do this and commented, “You look like a bachelor.” No offense to bachelors…most of them fare better than I do.

3. Curry-by-mistake muffins are okay; they complement popcorn and red wine nicely, especially if seasonal allergies prevent you from savoring anything other than texture.

4. I belong behind the keyboard.



Creative Distraction


There is a fine line between creative distraction and procrastination.

But I know it’s there. I keep stumbling over it.

I love to write. Love it. So what’s up with that sudden need to browse the internet in search of ways to identify which application has hijacked my sound, rendering my laptop as silent as the grave?

With the story or article I’m immersed in open before me, why is it so urgent to investigate if the cat’s dish has enough kibble mounded in it to keep him from launching one of his evil, stank-eyed glares my way?

A beautiful, blank screen and the luxury of time to fill it with words awaits. But I can’t leave that breakfast dish soaking in the sink. Must. Clean. Now.

I love getting lost in my work. Absolutely adore that sensation of surfing waves of vocabulary, feeling as though all those tedious hours of lower education where you were forced to read what teachers, parents and other authorities deemed necessary, have finally been justified. The original purpose shredded and forgotten, but their elements distilled down over time into an internal thesaurus. Each successful excavation of expression slipping into place with a satisfying *click*…

So why all the avoidance?

And then I realized…It’s not procrastination. It’s Creative Distraction.

It’s that tiny break when you’re doing something else and…*click*…your imagination engages. The gears and cogs mesh. The next step in your story emerges from the fog, clear and concise and cogent. You fly back to your laptop, eager to get it all down. Then, as soon as the surge has passed…you stare at the keyboard and realize…

…you just have to organize your closet. Must. Do. Now.

So in the end it’s not a fine line dividing procrastination from Creative Distraction. It’s more of a trip-wire. And you don’t stumble over it. It catches you mid-stride, catapulting you forward.

Right into the next idea.

My plants need watering. Must. Do. Now…

catapulted cat2